(1844 - 1900)
Thus Spake Zarathustra
sublime one saw I today, a solemn one, a penitent of the
spirit: Oh, how my soul laughed at his ugliness! (thus
AH, LIETH everything already
withered and grey which but lately stood green and many-hued
on this meadow! And how much honey of hope did I carry hence
into my beehives!
Those young hearts have already
all become old- and not old even! only weary, ordinary, comfortable:-
they declare it: "We have again become pious."
Of late did I see them run
forth at early morn with valorous steps: but the feet of their
knowledge became weary, and now do they malign even their
Verily, many of them once lifted
their legs like the dancer; to them winked the laughter of
my wisdom:- then did they bethink themselves. Just now have
I seen them bent down- to creep to the cross.
Around light and liberty did
they once flutter like gnats and young poets. A little older,
a little colder: and already are they mystifiers, and mumblers
Did perhaps their hearts despond,
because lonesomeness had swallowed me like a whale? Did their
ear perhaps hearken yearningly-long for me in vain, and for
my trumpet-notes and herald-calls?
-Ah! Ever are there but few
of those whose hearts have persistent courage and exuberance;
and in such remaineth also the spirit patient. The rest, however,
The rest: these are always
the great majority, the common-place, the superfluous, the
far-too many- those all are cowardly!Him who is of my type,
will also the experiences of my type meet on the way: so that
his first companions must be corpses and buffoons.
His second companions, however-
they will call themselves his believers,- will be a living
host, with much love, much folly, much unbearded veneration.
To those believers shall he
who is of my type among men not bind his heart; in those spring-times
and many-hued meadows shall he not believe, who knoweth the
fickly faint-hearted human species!
Could they do otherwise, then
would they also will otherwise. The half-and-half spoil every
whole. That leaves become withered,- what is there to lament
Let them go and fall away,
O Zarathustra, and do not lament! Better even to blow amongst
them with rustling winds,-Blow amongst those leaves, O Zarathustra,
that everything withered may run away from thee the faster!
"We have again become
pious"- so do those apostates confess; and some of them
are still too pusillanimous thus to confess.
Unto them I look into the eye,-
before them I say it unto their face and unto the blush on
their cheeks: Ye are those who again pray!
It is however a shame to pray!
Not for all, but for thee, and me, and whoever hath his conscience
in his head. For thee it is a shame to pray!
Thou knowest it well: the faint-hearted
devil in thee, which would fain fold its arms, and place its
hands in its bosom, and take it easier:- this faint-hearted
thee that "there is a
Thereby, however, dost thou
belong to the light-dreading type, to whom light never permitteth
repose: now must thou daily thrust thy head deeper into obscurity
And verily, thou choosest the
hour well: for just now do the nocturnal birds again fly abroad.
The hour hath come for all light-dreading people, the vesper
hour and leisure hour, when they do not- "take leisure."
I hear it and smell it: it
hath come- their hour for hunt and procession, not indeed
for a wild hunt, but for a tame, lame, snuffling, soft-treaders',
soft-prayers' hunt,-For a hunt after susceptible simpletons:
all mouse-traps for the heart have again been set! And whenever
I lift a curtain, a night-moth rusheth out of it.
Did it perhaps squat there
along with another night-moth? For everywhere do I smell small
concealed communities; and wherever there are closets there
are new devotees therein, and the atmosphere of devotees.
They sit for long evenings
beside one another, and say: "Let us again become like
little children and say, 'good God!'"- ruined in mouths
and stomachs by the pious confectioners.
Or they look for long evenings
at a crafty, lurking cross-spider, that preacheth prudence
to the spiders themselves, and teacheth that "under crosses
it is good for cobweb-spinning!"
Or they sit all day at swamps
with angle-rods, and on that account think themselves profound;
but whoever fisheth where there are no fish, I do not even
call him superficial!
Or they learn in godly-gay
style to play the harp with a hymn-poet, who would fain harp
himself into the heart of young girls:- for he hath tired
of old girls and their praises.
Or they learn to shudder with
a learned semi-madcap, who waiteth in darkened rooms for spirits
to come to him- and the spirit runneth away entirely!
Or they listen to an old roving
howl- and growl-piper, who hath learned from the sad winds
the sadness of sounds; now pipeth he as the wind, and preacheth
sadness in sad strains.
And some of them have even
become night-watchmen: they know now how to blow horns, and
go about at night and awaken old things which have long fallen
Five words about old things
did I hear yesternight at the garden-wall: they came from
such old, sorrowful, arid night-watchmen.
"For a father he careth
not sufficiently for his children: human fathers do this better!"He
is too old! He now careth no more for his children,"-
answered the other night-watchman.
"Hath he then children?
No one can prove it unless he himself prove it! I have long
wished that he would for once prove it thoroughly."
"Prove? As if he had ever
proved anything! Proving is difficult to him; he layeth great
stress on one's believing him."
"Ay! Ay! Belief saveth
him; belief in him. That is the way with old people! So it
is with us also!"-Thus spake to each other the two old
night-watchmen and light-scarers, and tooted thereupon sorrowfully
on their horns: so did it happen yesternight at the garden-wall.
To me, however, did the heart
writhe with laughter, and was like to break; it knew not where
to go, and sunk into the midriff.
Verily, it will be my death
yet- to choke with laughter when I see asses drunken, and
hear night-watchmen thus doubt about God.
Hath the time not long since
passed for all such doubts? Who may nowadays awaken such old
slumbering, light-shunning things!
With the old Deities hath it
long since come to an end:- and verily, a good joyful Deity-end
They did not "begloom"
themselves to death- that do people fabricate! On the contrary,
they- laughed themselves to death once on a time!
That took place when the ungodliest
utterance came from a God himself- the utterance: "There
is but one God! Thou shalt have no other gods before me!"-An
old grim-beard of a God, a jealous one, forgot himself in
such wise:And all the gods then laughed, and shook upon their
thrones, and exclaimed: "Is it not just divinity that
there are gods, but no God?"
He that hath an ear let him
hear.Thus talked Zarathustra in the city he loved, which is
surnamed "The Pied Cow." For from here he had but
two days to travel to reach once more his cave and his animals;
his soul, however, rejoiced unceasingly on account of the
nighness of his return home.
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science